Whitby Swing Bridge to be greased more often after second breakdown in two months

The managers of Whitby Swing Bridge have said that there are no long-term mechanical defects to the structure but that it will need to be greased more often.

By Grace Newton
Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 10:02 am
Whitby Swing Bridge
Whitby Swing Bridge

The Swing Bridge broke down and became stuck in the 'up' position on September 16, exactly two months after a previous breakdown on July 16, when replacement buses had to be used to ferry visitors across the River Esk.

North Yorkshire County Council, who are responsible for bridge maintenance, said: "There are no mechanical issues on the bridge. The issue was caused by the lack of grease on the landing rail which the bridge slews on to when it closes and this resulted in too much friction. The bridge was closed for a short period.

"The rail will be greased weekly and we will continue to monitor the situation. We apologise for the inconvenience this caused."

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The bridge was built in 1909. The breakdown comes after a signage error by a contractor in June which led to 'chaos' when the bridge was mistakenly left open during a traffic-free pilot scheme.

Since Easter vehicles have been prohibited from using the Swing Bridge between 10.30am and 4pm on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays as part of a pedestrianisation trial.

North Yorkshire councillor Joe Plant said the county council’s new in-house highways contractor did not put up signs on June 5 letting drivers know the bridge was supposed to be closed, leading to much confusion among motorists and pedestrians.

He said that the situation turned quickly into chaos with pedestrians expecting the bridge to be closed but vehicles still crossing.

The trial closure of the historic Swing Bridge is hoped to reduce traffic congestion in the popular seaside town, where the bridge is the most convenient way to cross from the west side over to the east.

Originally the plan was to implement the Swing Bridge restrictions for seven days a week but feedback from the first stage of consultation showed that the public preferred the bridge to be closed on fewer days.